The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Slow-Mo Walkback Beginning? Sheepish Silence From Anti-Steubenville Media

Posted on | January 16, 2013 | 16 Comments

‘Occupy Steubenville’ protesters, Jan. 5

“Protestors descended on Steubenville, Ohio [Jan. 5] to demonstrate their opposition to the possible cover-up of the alleged rape of a 16-year-old high school student by members of the Steubenville High School football team. …
“Occupy Steubenville, as the rally came to be called throughout social media, was the second such protest in as many weeks, and it was organized by the hacker collective known as Anonymous and an offshoot group known as KnightSec.”

Jeff Stone, International Business Times, Jan. 5, “Occupy Steubenville Protesters Descend On Ohio Town To Demonstrate For Rape Victims, Call For Football Coach’s Job”

Some of you may remember the “Send the Body to Glenn Beck” uproar in 2009 after a Census worker was reportedly lynched in Kentucky and the Left jumped to the conclusion (with help from an anonymous Justice Department “source”) that this was some kind of Tea Party/right-wing talk radio/Michelle Bachmann-inspired hate crime.

Everybody was making lots of noise about the case, until I went to Kentucky and began reporting from the scene, where no reasonably well-informed person believed the “anti-government” theory of the crime. An embarrassed silence took hold and. by the time the truth came out — that Bill Sparkman had committed suicide and staged it to look like murder — the Left pretended that they’d never heard of Clay County, Kentucky.

Something similar seems to be happening, now that Lee Stranahan has gone to Steubenville, Ohio, and begun slowly dismantling the “Rape Crew” mythology that the media have helped propagate.

A week or two ago, reporters were breathlessly hyping the idea that what happened in Steubenville on the night of Aug. 11-12 was symptomatic of an American “rape culture” of which the Big Red football program was typical. It was suggested that the victim had been gang-raped multiple times, used as a “rape toy” with the tactic acquiesence of the entire community of Steubenville, where the corrupt police were involved in a conspiratorial cover-up to protect the guilty.

Uh . . . no.

What evidently happened, according to court testimony that Stranahan has carefully compiled, is that a 16-year-old girl was molested by two 16-year-old boys while she was so drunk that she was “unconscious and incapable of giving consent,” as her attorney told Fox News. Allegedly, I must emphasize: The two accused teenagers won’t stand trial until next month and are, of course, presumed innocent in the meantime.

So what happened to all the media who gave saturation coverage to this story a week or two ago, during the “Occupy Steubenville” protests? Where is the clarification of all those stories that conveyed the impression that this Ohio town was Rapeville, U.S.A.?

If you listen closely enough, you can hear the crickets chirping.

Here’s a guess: Reporters have started figuring out that their sources for the conspiracy-theory gang-rape version of events — Alexandria Goddard, Anonymous, LocalLeaks — lack credibility. Stranahan’s item headlined “LocalLeaks Corrected: The Basic Story Wrong” shows the extent of the errors, many of which were echoed by unskeptical reporters. But the facts don’t check out and so, rather than running stories with headlines like, “Hey, Y’Know, We Kinda Got Carried Away With That Gang-Rape Story,” instead the media are just being quiet.

Suspiciously quiet. And now I notice that even Alexandria Goddard herself is starting to walk it back (sorry, no link):

When I first started writing about the Steubenville case, there was one thing that bothered me the absolute most.  It was not that law enforcement did a shoddy job — I never claimed that, and will never make that claim. I know many of the officers at Steubenville PD and they are very fine and upstanding men. What bothered me greatly was the number of bystanders (as evidenced by social media) who stood by and did nothing. The complete and utter lack of empathy of anyone that night bothered me greatly.

Wait just a damned minute here — Goddard ginned up a firestorm, was accused of libeling a Steubenville student who wasn’t charged in the case and has since been accused of using LocalLeaks as a vehicle to publicize gossip she doesn’t want her name attached to, all of which had the effect of stoking the conspiratorial cover-up theory, and now she wants to say that she never impugned local law enforcement?

Go read some of the reporting Lee Stranahan has done:

Understand what Lee is doing here: Using his blog as a sort of notebook, laying out the facts piece by piece, while preparing to put together the complex narrative account of the Steubenville story. Meanwhile, however, Stranahan emphasizes the need for restraint:

I have no interest in trying the case in public. We haven’t heard from the defense and we’re only heard a little from the prosecution in the Probable Cause hearing. Let’s let the case play out. Let’s not rush to judgment.

Exactly. We don’t have all the facts yet, and therefore should not presume to know things that we do not actually know.

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Comments

  • Sort-Of-Mad Max

    Is it just me, or is anybody else tired to death of jagoffs wearing Guy Fawkes masks capering about as if it automatically brands them defenders of truth and beauty?

  • DaveO

    While still on the books, libel and slander aren’t litigated anymore. Like the Senate’s fabled filibuster, most folks stop at the threat of suing someone for libel. And, using the 1st Amendment (“Freedom of the Press”) as a get-out-of-accountability card, the press bears no moral responsibility for Steubenville, Duke, or anything else.
    Was anyone actually raped by anybody? The Press doesn’t seem to know or care.

  • Steve Skubinna

    “Rape Culture.” Christ on a cracker, how stupid do you have to be to say something like that without a self conscious grin?

    If this were a rape culture, women would be sequestered in their homes, not venturing outside without male escorts, and wearing burkhas in public. How can you square the circle or a “rape culture” when we have a woman Secretary of State, to just point to one example?

    The self loathing of the postmodern left has been amply document as nauseum. Why do we tolerate their constant insistence that the rest of us share it?

  • Steve Skubinna

    The masks are an inspired touch – how else to demonstrate your commitment to justice than to ostentatiously make anonymous accusations of criminal conduct?

    Right to be confronted by your accusers? Yeah, right, you racist wingnut. Where’d you get that, from your “little book?”

  • John

    At least you skipped over Stranahan’s attempt to connect (loosely) Rauhauser to Steubenville. Especially given Jefferson County’s voting patterns.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

    Will that woman who accused Stacy and, for some unknown reason, Smitty, of being ‘rape apologists’ in the previous post on this subject also be ‘walking it back’?

  • robertstacymccain

    Some people can’t understand the difference between (a) opposing a witch-hunt mentality and (b) being pro-witch.

  • robertstacymccain

    Well, it’s a point: Jay Leiderman emerges as a spokesman for Commander X, the fugitive who is apparently coordinating the Anonymous involvement in the Steubenville story. Leiderman is also the lawyer who, at Rauhauser’s insistence, got involved in the Nadia Naffe suit vs. Patterico. So there is a secondhand connection and (given Rauhauser’s known ties to Anonymous) perhaps an even closer connection than we may suspect.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Breaking news is like one of those Battle of the Network Stars things where you have to run the course as fast as you can and never mind what you knock over…but it ain’t journalism.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Buzzards flock to carrion.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

    Well said!

  • The Transparent Cube

    The reporting on this site about the case has been exemplary and if it wasn’t FOR my seeking SANE, LEVEL-HEADED, NON-HYSTERICAL, actual JOURNALISM about it, I would never have found ‘The Other McCain!’….. but I just have one question for anyone that reads this: Though I’ve read the partial transcripts of the October 13th probable cause hearing, where can I find the complete transcripts if they are available? Is it as simple as ‘Googling’ Jefferson County’s Public Records Directory? Thanks!

  • scarymatt

    If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts into the racistsrape apologists. If you have the law on your side, pound the law into the racistsrape apologists. If you have neither, then pound the racistsrape apologists.

  • 20thCenturyVole

    So, have we figured out yet who the Anonymous big-wig is who lives in the Steubenville area?

  • tom

    u do know stranahan is being investigated for child rape, fraud and various other charges in dallas right?

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